Feb 272005
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Star of the Box: Utah's Kim Smith 22 points, four 3-pointers

Utah 77, CSU 69

Utah 39 38 77

CSU 19 50 69

Utah: Smith 6, 4-6, 22; Perry 4, 0-1, 8; Hanchett 2, 0-0, 4; Thorburn 8, 2-4, 20; Sitterud 5, 2-5, 17; Carlsen 0, 0-1, 0; Brouillard 1, 0-0, 2; Wood, 0, 0-2, 0; Allen, 2, 0-0, 4; Warner 0, 0-0, 0.

CSU: Dennett 6, 0-0, 18; Thomas 5, 0-0, 13; Hunter 6, 1-10, 13; Espinoza 5, 2-3, 12; Walseth 1, 1-2, 3; Nohr 2, 1-1, 10; O'Dwyer 0, 0-1, 0; Tor-Agbidye 0, 0-0, 0; Moulton 0, 0-0, 0.

Rebounds: Utah 30 (Smith 6, Sitterud 6), CSU 40 (Dennett 13). 3-point shots: Utah 8 (Smith 4), CSU 5 (Espinoza 2). Technical fouls: none.

A- 1505

Despite several players having career nights, the CSU women's basketball team fell to the Utah Utes 77-69 Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 1,505.

It was the first time since the 1999-2000 season that the Rams suffered back-to-back losses at home.

The Rams struggled to score in the first half, shooting just 29.6 percent from the field and scoring 19 points, and they could not overcome a 20-point deficit at halftime.

"A couple people said they were embarrassed," said junior forward Melissa Dennett, who led CSU with 18 points and recorded her ninth career double-double. "It was just not our team. I got frustrated with myself. We're playing at home and our fans are behind us no matter what. We owe it to them to play our best."

Head coach Chris Denker said he was also shocked by the poor performance in the first half.

"I wouldn't have ever predicted they would come out and play like they did," Denker said. "They basically assisted on every (Utah) field goal."

The Rams came out for the second half looking like a different team, scoring 50 points and getting within seven points of the Utes at one point.

"I think the comeback in the second half you have to be pleased with," Denker said. "To score 50 points in the second half is phenomenal. I thought our energy was very good in the second half."

Dennett also said the team's energy was much higher in the second half.

"(The second half) felt great," she said. "We didn't get the win, but we really came together in the second half."

Dennett recorded a new career high with eight offensive rebounds and freshman guard Sara Hunter set a career high with eight total rebounds. Coming off the bench, sophomore guard Molly Nohr scored a career-high 10 points.

"I thought Sara Hunter played one of her best games collegiately," Denker said. "She really, really played well."

The Rams out-rebounded the Utes 40-30 in the game, making it the second-straight game a loss was recorded despite the Rams out-rebounding their opponent. The Rams had previously been 14-0 when they won the rebound battle.

The Utah trio of junior forward Kim Smith, junior guard Shona Thorburn and senior guard Lana Sitterud proved too much offensively. Combined, the three scored 59 points.

"(Thorburn) is really smart," Hunter said. "She hurt us definitely on some spots, but every team's going to have players like that."

The Rams fell to 14-11 overall and 5-6 in conference play while the Utes improved to 21-6, 9-2 in conference. The Rams will play New Mexico on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Moby Arena. The Rams lost to the Lobos 49-75 at New Mexico on Feb. 5, but they hope to continue their offensive ways after their second-half outburst.

"We played hard and we played well (in the second half) and we need to build off that," said junior center Lindsay Thomas.

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